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I've created a new D&D character and I'm filling in her character sheet. I always gets stuck on what values I should be using for Inspiration, Initiative, Temporary Hit Points, Hit Dice, and Saving Throws.

I've looked through the 5e Players Handbook and can't work out where I can get the information as to what to put in - Saving Throws I understand the stat bonus but am not sure if my proficiency bonus goes in there too or not.

My character is an Gnome Bard.

  • Str 14 (+2)
  • Dex 17 (+3)
  • Con 16 (+3)
  • Wis 16 (+3)
  • Int 16 (+3)
  • Chr 18 (+4)

That includes all the special modifiers for race.

  • HP 11
  • Proficiency Bonus +2
  • Initiative ?
  • Temporary Hit Points ?
  • Hit Dice ?
  • Saving Throws - these aren't listed separately on the sheet but I'm still not sure how to calculate them

Can anyone clear up where I'm supposed to find those other values?

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Hit Dice

Your hit die is located at the top of your class's description page. For a Bard, it is d8. Your hit dice are simply a running count of all the singular hit die you accumulate -- you gain one class-appropriate hit die every time you level up in a class. So, a level 5 Fighter would have 5 (5d10) hit dice. A multiclassing 3 Rogue/2 Sorceror would also have 5 hit dice (3d8 + 2d6). Usually, the hit dice are expressed as the total of the individual pools of dice, so that it's easy to see how many of each die you have. That's important for short rests, when you use them to heal.

The hit dice system seems weird or unnecessary at first (it did to me when I started playing, anyway), but it makes it really easy for a DM to generate an NPC. If I wanted to generate that level 5 Fighter, for instance, I can just roll five d10's, then multiply his Con bonus by five and add that, and I'll know what his total hit points are. That's exactly the same as if a player had levelled up a Fighter to 5 -- it just takes less time.

Temporary Hit Points

This is exactly what it says on the tin. They'll be zero for now, because nobody's cast a spell on you that gives you temporary HP, and you haven't used an ability that grants yourself temporary HP. Subtract from these first when you take damage, if you have them.

Initiative

Luckily, this is a really easy one. It's just your Dexterity bonus, unless you have an ability or item that explicitly states* it gives you Initiative bonus.

*Disclaimer: That's kind of a lie: the Bard's "Jack of All Trades" feature grants a bonus on "ability checks" at level 2. Rolling for initative is a Dexterity check, so you actually get an Initiative bonus from it, even though it's not explicit. Watch out for bonuses to Dexterity checks or ability checks.

Saving Throws

Your class is proficient in specific saving throws. The saving throws are classified by attribute; Strength, Constitution, Wisdom, etc. Your saving throw bonus is just the respective attribute bonus. For the saving throws you're proficient in, you can add your proficiency bonus, too.

Inspiration

This is a special mechanic new to 5e. The gist of it is that the DM can choose to give you points which you can spend for free re-rolls. You can only have one at a time, and it only lasts until the end of the session. Look in your Player's Handbook for details; I believe it's next to the Backgrounds section.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe that there is a bard class option that ends up adding a bonus to initiative without explicitly stating it. Something about getting your proficiency bonus, or half of it, to all ability checks or something, and initiative is explicitly a dex check. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Oct 7 '15 at 20:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sigh. Those Coast clowns and their natural language. I have not played a Bard in 5e yet, so if you have a link or just post those rules explicitly I'll mention them in the answer as a disclaimer. Otherwise it'll have to wait until I get home. \$\endgroup\$ – Lucas Leblanc Oct 7 '15 at 20:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Jack of All Trades -- kicks in at Bard level 2, so not critical at character creation time \$\endgroup\$ – PurpleVermont Oct 7 '15 at 20:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think describing hit dice as monster levels is kind of misleading, and definitely well beyond what a newbie player needs to know about HD. They need to know that it's how they get their hitpoints, and that they can spend them on a short rest to heal, which is the point of putting them on the character sheet. \$\endgroup\$ – PurpleVermont Oct 7 '15 at 20:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm -- you're right. I forgot that spells like sleep and color spray are based on hit points rather than hit dice, nowadays. So no player actually needs to know that. Otherwise, it would certainly be relevant for a Bard, who has access to sleep. \$\endgroup\$ – Lucas Leblanc Oct 7 '15 at 21:07
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This is an understandable problem. Many of the blanks in the character sheet you mention are nestled among slots mentioned in Race and Class, but aren't explained for another hundred pages. Taking those one at a time:

Inspiration is granted by the DM or by another player. Leave it blank for now, and see p.125 for more details.

Initiative is short for "initiative modifier"... maybe. (See Is initiative ordinal or numerical? if you're a real masochist.) Starting out it's equal to your DEX modifier, unless some other feat(ure) explicitly grants some bonus. See pp. 177 and 189 for more descriptions of how it's used.

Temporary Hit Points are blank at creation. Some spells, features, items might explicitly grant you temporary hit points that work a little differently than "normal" hit points. See. p. 198 for more description.


The remaining items are laid out in your class's description; I'll just briefly mention them here:

Hit Points at creation are equal to the max possible roll on your class's hit die plus your CON modifier. HP at first level and Hit Dice (both number and type) are both specified in your class's Class Features section of chapter 3. (You'll find the usage of "Hit Dice" described on p. 186, Resting.)

A few lines later you'll also see listed which Saving Throws your class is proficient in: to those should be added your proficiency bonus in addition to the relevant ability modifier.

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Inspiration -- is a yes or no thing, and it's no until your DM awards it to you (at which point it remains yes until you use it). A player that has inspiration can also give it to another player instead of using it himself or herself.

Initiative -- unless you have something special going on (unlikely at character creation time) your initiative bonus is your DEX bonus. You'll fill this box with your bonus, and then add it to the d20 you roll when the DM tells you to roll initiative

Temporary Hit Points -- these are granted by spells or special abilities -- by default you have 0

Hit Dice -- at level 1 you have 1 hit die, and which die it is depends on your character class. As you can see on PHB p. 52 the Hit Dice for a Bard are 1d8 per level. Thus at level 1 you have 1d8. Hit dice can be spent on a Short Rest to regain lost hit points, and are recovered over the course of one or more Long Rests.

Saving Throws -- Your saving throw for each of your ability scores is d20 plus the relevant ability score modifier, plus your proficiency bonus if applicable (see below)

Proficiency on Saving Throws -- this is determined by your character class. Each class has 2 saving throws that they are proficient in. For example, for a Bard, look at PHB p. 52 under PROFICIENCIES. You will see a Saving Throws category that for a Bard lists Dexterity and Charisma. That means you add your proficiency bonus to your Dex and Cha saving throws.

You will see that the PROFICIENCIES section of your class gives you some skill proficiencies as well -- for a Bard you can choose any 3 skills. For those skills that you coose, you will add your proficiency bonus as well as the appropriate ability modifier when you roll a skill check. Your background may give you additional skill proficiencies as well.

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